Last night me and Grammie sat at the picnic table having supper in the sun (burritos Jay made with ground beef & deer) and she told me she was quite concerned Saturday night when the thunder woke her up. I was a little freaked out at that time too. We were under a tornado watch all day and the news people had said we’d probably see the worst of it in the night. After hearing about the destruction and loss of life being left behind by the one that started in Louisiana, then hit Mississippi and Alabama, there was a real reason to be concerned about whether it would come Georgia way. It was one and a half miles wide, traveling at a rate of 70 miles an hour. It ended up covering 180 miles before it lifted off again, almost set a new record.
One hit Grammie’s house one time when her husband was still living. They ran inside and couldn’t get the door closed because the wind was too strong. Finally got it closed just as all the windows in the house blew in. Somehow they managed to get to a windowless room and rode it out okay. She said she’s taken all the warnings and watches very seriously since then.
She was mortified to hear that Jay has ridden out a few in this camper when he was in Kansas and Nebraska. One in particular he got lucky. The tornado overturned his neighbor’s camper, almost put the air conditioning unit through his living room window. But it jumped over this camper, missed it. In another one the slide got slammed in and something bent on the frame, but he stayed upright and on the ground.
I told him there’s no way I’m riding one out in this thing no matter how big a horseshoe he has up his butt! I’ll be heading straight to the dirty bathroom in the laundry room, right behind Grammie! I told him he’ll have to clean out the sinkhole in our yard (it’s full of bricks & garbage & covered with a rotting board to keep us from falling in) and that’ll be my safe place. I was only kinda kidding! 🙂
Anyway, as it turned out the major storms changed direction and missed Georgia, went on into Tennessee instead. Nashville got hammered. Mississippi got the worst of it though. Twelve dead, last I heard, and they’re still searching for survivors. They’re calling it Katrina-like in Mississippi and by noon on Saturday they had already declared a state of emergency. Over 30 tornados touched down there, 61 total over the nine states affected. That didn’t include the F1 we had here, I guess because it wasn’t strong enough.
I think the reason why I suddenly got so storm paranoid about 5 or 6 years ago in NB was so that I’d be okay to live here. I mean I never used to be terrified of thunder and lightning, then one summer when we seemed to have a particularly large number of storms, I just kind of flipped out. I went from not really liking storms much to being downright terrified, in what seemed like one day to the next.
In Sackville I would unplug anything and everything that I could. I wouldn’t sit near windows or electrical outlets or any appliance that I couldn’t unplug like the refrigerator or the stove. Essentially I would just shut down, sit Indian style on my favourite chair to keep my feet off the floor, in the foyer by the bookcase, drinking vodka or brandy or anything I’d have and reading poetry aloud. No matter what time of the day or night the storm rolled in or how long it lasted, that’s where you’d find me. Just trying to keep my heart from pounding out of my chest. Can you say major panic attacks!
And this went on for years! I’d dread the spring when I knew storms became more likely. I was skeptical of every summer day. That’s when I started loving winter. It was a terrible phobia. I would drive my dad crazy when I was at his house, unplugging everything and freaking out.
Then I moved to the Newcastle apartment and things started to gradually shift again. My phobia lessened. I really don’t know why or what changed. I’d still shut down the computer because I never wanted to take the chance that it would blow up, but I wouldn’t do it at the first sign of a dark cloud. I’d still sit on a chair, sometimes reading, sometimes drinking, but now I left the curtains open so I could watch the lightning streak across the sky. And even if the sky was dark and I knew a storm was coming, sometimes I’d even venture out to Sobey’s in a mad dash to buy supper fixings, taking my chances that I could beat the weather on foot. Lemme tell ya, THAT never happened in Sackville!
And now, while I still don’t like storms, and they are much worse here than they are back home, I don’t unplug anything (only the computer because it’s not on a breaker & I worry about frying all my work) and we sit and actually watch television without me feeling any overwhelming anxiety. I can’t even imagine how bad it would be if I still had the phobia. I think I would literally pass out or go into cardiac arrest. I don’t know how I could ever get through that kind of panic. I mean at the height of my phobia it was so bad in NB, I nearly lost my mind with every storm, but it would have been all that much worse here, especially in a freaking camper.
So now I think that’s what that whole thing was about, I needed to experience it and get over it in order to be able to live here. Everything happens for a reason right?